Depressing Pastors

Depressing Pastors

I once taught at a Bible College and told the students, ‘If you’re not called to ministry, run away as fast as you can’

New research shows that people in ministry are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than in any other occupation in North America.
Were you aware of that?

Have you ever thought that these pastors and ministry leaders could be struggling? I know that’s a weird concept to think about
…if we even think about it at all.

They might be worried sick about finances
Their marriage might be suffering
Their kids could be struggling
They might be stressed and overwhelmed leading people
They could be hurt by your negative feedback
They could be lonely and have no one to turn to
They could be depressed

70% of ministry leaders say they are grossly unpaid
77% believe they don’t have a good marriage
80% believe ministry has negatively affected their family
75% say they are extremely stressed
90% say they are fatigued and worn out
70% say they have lower self-esteem being in ministry
50% feel discouraged on a regular basis
70% say they don’t have any close friends
70% battle depression during their career

Yet we get upset and complain about them because last Sunday’s sermon wasn’t their best,
or because they didn’t respond to our email the same day we sent it.

Have you ever thought about how these leaders are doing emotionally?

When it comes to Jesus, many scholars suggest He would have faced some of these emotional challenges. I know it’s easy to say ‘But He’s the Son of God’ and eliminate the human side of Him, but keep in mind many people in that culture did not look at Jesus as God; They looked at Him as a human, a teacher, a leader and a Rabbi. From that angle, this is even more alarming because you don’t see these people Jesus is ministering to in the Gospels checking in with Him and asking Jesus, ‘How are you doing today?” or “How can I pray for you?”.

The closest you might get is His disciples focused on His physical needs when they encouraged Jesus to eat,
but how many people were focused on His emotional needs?

For example…

When His cousin died?
When He was being pressured by other leaders?
When He was exhausted pouring into people daily?
When His disciples bailed on Him?
When He was about to die?

Did they all just assume He was doing okay?
Just like we might just assume our pastor is doing okay?

Never assume.

How can you respond from here?… Simply and sincerely reach out to your pastor, or ministry leader and check in on them.
Ask how they how are doing today and see how you can pray for them.

I personally encourage you to do this after you finish reading this,
and then please share this article to encourage others to do the same for their pastors and church leaders.

This could mean the world to them more than you realize.

Mike Gordon | Youth for Christ Canada

©2022 Mike Gordon